Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation
A Southwest Miami-Dade man more than twice the age of a 17-year-old girl was found guilty of prostituting her, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a Fort Lauderdale federal jury on Monday found 42-year-old Jason Gatlin guilty of sex trafficking of a minor, production of child pornography and witness tampering. He’s set to be sentenced in December.
A criminal complaint alleges Gatlin first met the 17-year-old girl, whom the feds say he knew was being sex trafficked by others, in October 2018.
The two initially dated and engaged in sexual activity that Gatlin filmed. In Florida, it is a crime to have sex with anyone under the age of 18, and she told him she was 17, the complaint says.
On Nov. 26, Gatlin took her to a Motel 6 in Cutler Bay, where he rented a room for a few nights so she could have sex with customers who had responded to her online ad.
When Gatlin arrived on the 28th, the minor said she didn’t have any money for him. Gatlin hit her across the face and drove her to Monroe County, where she had sex with more customers, the complaint says.
While in Monroe, Gatlin beat her to the point of unconsciousness after she threatened to call the police on him if he didn’t take her back to Miami-Dade County.
Gatlin eventually relented and two days later, they were on the road back to Miami-Dade, the complaint says.
The teen asked him to let her use a bathroom at a gas station. Once inside the bathroom, she locked herself in and called 911 on Nov. 30. Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies found her with “a swollen face, and bloody, ripped clothes,’’ according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Gatlin was arrested a few days later. While in jail, he bribed the victim into committing perjury. The feds presented recorded evidence at trial to prove the witness tampering.
Gatlin is being held at a federal detention center in Miami. He could spend the rest of his life in prison.